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Wexford’s home care waiting list one of the highest in the country

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The number of people waiting for home care support in County Wexford (871) is one of the highest in the country.

The number of people waiting for home care support in County Wexford (871) is one of the highest in the country.

The number of people waiting for home care support in County Wexford (871) is one of the highest in the country.

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The number of people waiting for home care support in County Wexford (871) is one of the highest in the country, nearly four times higher than the figure in neighbouring Waterford.

According to a report - The Waiting List Lottery –  published by Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), there are massive waiting lists in some parts of the country and none in others.

In Wexford, more than 870 people were waiting for access to a home carer last December, while more than 300 were waiting in Waterford, according to the report.

More than 200 people were on the list in Cavan-Monaghan, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Kerry, South Lee in Cork, Meath, Dublin South-West and Dublin West.

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In contrast, there was no waiting list in Dublin South-East, Dublin North-Central and Dublin North-West. North Dublin has the shortest waiting lists relative to the population of over-65s, while the south-east has the longest.

As the home carer recruitment crisis deepens and waiting lists increase, HCCI has complained that the promised reform of the home care sector is too slow.

The organisation which represents private home care providers said reform needs to happen at a much faster pace both within Government and the HSE to ensure that people get the support they need to stay living at home and that the Statutory Home Support Scheme will be implemented next year as promised.,

“Progress is at a snail’s pace”, said the CEO Joseph Musgrave, adding that the implementation of plans to develop certain elements of the sector has been limited and  the home care has now always been a priority.

“This must change. Appropriate engagement and support for Minister Butler’s initiatives from other ministers and key stakeholders in Government is critical to move the agenda forward at pace. Failure to do so will create some real challenges to the sustainability of these vital services for our most vulnerable.”

He said that in terms of shorter waiting lists, the  latest data shows a correlation between communities where a higher proportion of home care is delivered by private providers or non-profit providers with the results suggesting that using private and non-profit providers substantially increases capacity.

Earlier this year, HCCI warned that home care was in the middle of the most acute recruitment crisis ever experienced in the sector’s history and Mr Musgrave said there has been little improvement since.

“The Government says that it supports a ‘home first’ policy but its actions, or lack of, says the opposite. Our providers are still experiencing significant challenges recruiting carers and clients are facing lengthy waiting lists for a home carer”, said the CEO.

 “We need the Government to prioritise home care so that our older and more vulnerable citizens can get the support they need to stay in their own homes and communities. 

“Another example of home care being put to the bottom of the list is the ongoing delay in paying the Pandemic Bonus to home carer workers. This is affecting morale of home carers, who do so much day in day out in every community across the country.

HCCI believes that home care workers should be paid a minimum of the living wage and that this should be included as a condition of the next Home Care Tender.

"HSE sets the conditions of the market. That carers do not receive payment for travel, except in rare circumstances, results from the current procurement practice.”


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